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Posts Tagged ‘hackers’

Stay Safe from CyberStalking: Disable Picture Geotags on your Cellphone

Posted on: August 13th, 2013 by under Computer Security | 2 Comments

Did you know: If you post pictures online from your smartphone, hackers can easily pinpoint your location.  How easy, you say? Take a look at this short video:

Pretty scary, huh?  Thieves, child predators and other criminals can easily find where you live, where you like to eat lunch, what park you take your kids to play in, etc.

This is not something new, but it’s shocking how many people are unaware of this threat and expose themselves to criminals.

Now that I have your attention, I have some good news. There is an easy way for you to disable geotagging on your cellphone pictures, while leaving it on for applications that need it, like your phone’s GPS.

Here are easy-to-follow instructions for your phone.  Don’t delay – Disable picture geotags now!

iPhone: Go to Settings, select General, then Location Services, and set the camera to off.

Blackberry: Open the camera, select the settings, and set Geotagging to off.

Android:  Open the camera, select the location icon, select off.

To get an even better idea of this threat, view the following news report, it’s eye-opening.

Hackers & Cyberthieves Continue to Target the Under-Protected: Small Businesses

Posted on: July 23rd, 2012 by under Computer Security | No Comments
Hackers, Cyberthieves, Cybertheft and Cyber Security

Prime Target: Small Businesses

As a small business owner, most state laws will put the responsibility completely on you if you are a victim of cybertheft. If your company bank account is hacked and your money is stolen, tough luck – you should have had better controls in place. Surprised?

Conversely, if your personal account suffers a similar fate, most state laws will hold the banks responsible.

The general reasoning here is that companies should be more sophisticated and knowledgeable than individuals and should have the proper controls and security measure in place.  Of course, we all know the reality of the situation is that there is a big difference between a large company with it’s own I.T. staff and a small business. Hackers and cybethieves know this as well and are exploiting the vulnerability of small businesses with fervor. Small businesses have proven to be “soft targets” for cybercriminals.

The Wall Street Journal has been all over this this topic lately and I encourage any small business owner to read the following articles referenced. The knowledge and awareness you gain could very well save you from experiencing a major cybertheft incident.

First came an article about the general problem of hackers targeting small businesses.  Standing out in that article is this quote:

About 72% of the 855 data breaches world-wide analyzed last year by Verizon’s forensic analysis unit were at companies with 100 or fewer employees.”

Are you looking over your shoulder yet? Are you wondering how this can happen?  Here is a case study of a company that had 1.2million wiped from it’s accounts by cyberthieves in the course of several hours. They thought they had protections in place (firewall and anti-virus), but the systems were not all current and they had no controls on their online banking accounts that would restrict such large withdrawals.  (Call your bank NOW and discuss what controls can be implemented)

As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, historically small businesses have been left to fully bear the burden of cybertheft committed upon them. But there is some good news. Two recent court rulings went in favor of small businesses suing their banks to recover funds lost due to cybertheft.

From that article is this quote that sums up the problem small businesses face: “The truth is there are millions of small businesses that have no clue of the sophistication of the threat that is out to get them,” says Brian Krebs, author of Krebs on Security, a blog that covers cybercrime and Internet security. “You’ve got one lady who’s in charge of payroll, and she works nine to five and…God bless her, she’s up against the Russian mob.”

So what can small businesses do? I’ll tackle that topic fully in my next post, but in the meantime, call your bank and put some controls in place that would limit your exposure to theft.

 

Cyberthieves Hit Owners:

Don’t Think Hackers Target Small Business? Think Again…

Posted on: August 22nd, 2011 by under Computer Security | 5 Comments

Don't Think Hackers Target Small Business? Think Again...There’s a dirty little secret in the hacking community. While the “big score” can be had by going after Fortune 500 and multi-national companies, the odds of success without getting caught are slim. The easy money is had by going after small businesses.

Hackers Target Small Business:

Hackers know that small businesses often don’t have the resources or expertise to properly secure their systems. Whether it’s  your own network or your hosted website, they are being scanned non-stop by potential thieves looking for weak passwords or security holes. Once they gain access, they will often install difficult to detect software that will intercept all data being transmitted and forward it on to their own site.

Stealing credit card information that can be re-sold or used to make purchases is the primary goal. Identity theft and gaining access to online bank accounts are  close behind.

A 2010 survey by the National Retail Federation and First Data Corp. of small- and medium-size retailers in the U.S. found that 64% believed their businesses weren’t vulnerable to card data theft and only 49% had assessed their security safeguards. Talk about nice, ripe low-hanging fruit for the hackers…

On the web site front, current statistics estimate that every .65 seconds, a web page is infected with malware.

An agent in the FBI’s cyber division says that hackers targeting small businesses are a “prolific problem.” And, “It’s going to get much worse before it gets better.”

Proper security is all about creating multiple levels that have to be broken through. Think of a burgler approaching two houses. One is protected by a ten foot wall. The other has a ten foot wall, a ten foot barbed wire fence and a moat with man-eating piranha swimming in it. Which house will he try to break in to?

So, if you own or manage a small business, what do you do?

1) First priority should be installing a proper firewall, which does not mean a $99 home firewall you bought in the local office supply store. It also means hiring a professional IT technician to install and configure it. This is NOT a do-it-yourself job.

2) Don’t be lazy with passwords. Use strong passwords that are combinations of letters, numbers and special characters.

3) Every system needs to be running anti-virus and anti-malware software. While no one program is perfect, running without it is the equivalent of a hole in your barbed-wire fence.

4) Don’t skimp on backups – back up your systems daily at the minimum. And that includes your web site. Is your site being backed up? How often? Look into a free service from CodeGuard.

5) Talk to an IT security professional. In this technology crazed, always-connected world we live in, many people feel they know enough to  “do it themselves and save money.”  There are many areas where that may be true, but this isn’t one of them.

For the most part, you’ll only hear about computer security breaches when they involve large companies and thousands of potential “victims.” There may only be a handful of these every year. But every day, smaller businesses are being hacked and in many cases, enough damage is inflicted to close down the business. Don’t let that happen to you.

If you would like to read some more about this topic, including some real world examples of small businesses under siege, here are some good articles to check out:

Hackers Shift Attacks to Small Firms – Wall Street Journal

New Cyberattacks Target Small Businesses – USA Today

 

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